10/06/2011 02:49 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2011

Mr. President: If Need Be, Shut the Government Down

Republicans are once again starting to play their games as we approach the November 18th deadline for keeping the government open either with a continuing resolution or actual 2012 appropriations bills. This time they are threatening untenable cuts in the bill funding the Departments' of Education, Labor, and Health and Human Services. These cuts would directly and negatively impact the future of American workers, students and women. By proposing deep cuts to Pell grants for college students, health care for poor women, and programs that mandate safe work places, they will continue to imperil people's lives. President Obama, as we get closer to the deadline and the games persist I urge you to say to them, "If you think you will hold the American people hostage again to these counterproductive demands then you will be responsible for shutting the government down because I will not be a party to your gamesmanship."

If responsible Republican leaders can't do it then the time has come for the president to stand up to the outrageous behavior of a few members of the House of Representatives and Senate who believe it is more important to force their personal will upon the nation than to help to solve the issues facing all Americans. Poll after poll indicates that the American people want compromise and responsible leadership. In 1985 Republican President Ronald Reagan called for wealthier people to pay their fair share of taxes and the American people agreed with him then and they agree with President Obama now. They want the government to meet the needs of the poor and middle class which includes decent and affordable health care, a decent education with good teachers and good schools for their children, and protection from unsafe workplaces and unscrupulous business practices. They want the government to meet its obligations at home and around the world.

Republicans claim the president wants class warfare when in actuality it is Republicans who propose it. They would cut programs for those most in need like Medicaid, education and Social Security while fighting to protect every benefit possible for the wealthiest Americans.

But people are beginning to wake up to the sham which is the Republican platform. They are demonstrating on Wall Street and taking those demonstrations to cities across the nation and speaking out. What is resonating with them are statements like the one made recently by Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren, who when speaking to voters in Massachusetts said, "If you built a factory and became a success I applaud you. You deserve to keep a large chunk of your money. But never forget you send your goods to market on roads we all pay for; you hire employees that are educated by all of us; your factory is protected by police and fire departments that we pay for; so when you are asked to pay your fair share of taxes it is only right that you pay it forward so others might one day have the opportunity to achieve the success you have had."

This plain and simple talk is beginning to propel people across the nation to action. They are slowly peeking behind the smokescreen that the Republican Party has erected that allows them to protect the wealthy in the nation at the expense of everyone else. The people are beginning to question and see behind this smokescreen that is based on lies and half-truths foisted on the American people every day by the likes of FOX news and Rush Limbaugh. They are recognizing that the proposals being promulgated by the Republican Party will serve only the rich and will not create jobs or make life better for the huge majority of Americans who have been suffering through this economy. The Republican proposals most favor those who think they don't need government because they are wealthy enough to make it on their own. Those who can contribute vast sums to politicians to protect their interests; whose children rarely serve in the armed forces; who often send their children to private school; and who are wealthy enough to take advantage of every tax loophole that the Republican Party wants to continue to provide for them.

Mr. President, the time is now to call the Republican bluff. If you lead, the people will stand with you. Americans are by nature a decent and compassionate people and a leader who calls them to their better angels will win out.